I would be somewhat remiss, if I did not mention the passing of a well known Central New Jersey Ham. I was paging through a recent copy of QST recently; and happened to peruse the Silent Key page. Much to my surprise, I saw the call W2FNT, which belonged to John Kakstys.
I knew John; but not personally. I guess a lot of Hams here in New Jersey and the greater metropolitan area could make the same claim. John ran a used Ham radio shop out of the basement of his house in Linden, NJ.
I don't quite remember how I first heard about him; but I have been to his house a few times throughout my Ham career. The first time was in 1979 when I was desperate to become "un-rockbound" during my Novice days. Somehow or other, it was brought to my attention that John had a Globe VFO that would work with my Drake 2-NT. A trip to his house one night after work was quite an experience. Walking into his basement was like walking into "Ham Toys R Us". It was great! He had all manner of boat anchors and varied Amateur Radio gear. You could spend hours talking with him and other Hams, and listening to different radios.
Over the years, I bought a couple of used pieces from John. He was always a good sport about returns and refunds if you discovered that what you bought wasn't quite what you had expected.
Back in the 70s and 80s, after the "Golden Age" of radio stores; but before eBay and the Internet, guys like John were invaluable if you needed something in between Hamfests; or if you didn't feel like doing the mail order thing.
As the Internet came into its own, I saw John at all the local Hamfests, trying to reduce his inventory. He was getting older (as we all were) and the basement "store" had become too much of a burden; and I guess he was forced to abandon it. But I'll always remember John's basement as the place "where real radios glowed, and you could smell the dust burning off the warm vacuum tubes".
73 de Larry W2LJ